Disability in Film and TV

Disability is a huge part of my life, with both myself and my wife having life-limiting conditions.

I’ve been trying to catch up with and collate any Films or TV series that people may have seen or recommend with disability at their heart?

For example we’ve both recently watched There She Goes and Don’t Take My Baby which were amazing, difficult and funny explorations into the world of disabilities.
Other things that come to mind are CODA and the recent Last of Us TV series exploring disability in a post-apocalypse world.

Anyway, I’m rambling :joy: I’d love to know if anyone on here can recommend any other TV or films with disability as a strong theme?

Thank you!

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(There She Goes, I’ve seen some criticise because the disabled character is played by a non-disabled actor.)

The first show that comes to mind is Tim Renkow’s Jerk.

Then there’s Rosie Jones’ Trip Hazard.

I’m on my phone at the moment so looking up things isn’t the easiest. Will come back and edit/post further replies from a computer later.


I read a bit about this. It was decided that for the condition they were wanting to show, it would be too cruel to ask a child with the same disabilities to try and act. Working hours, confusing lights and cameras etc.
Of course there’s always multiple points of view, but I’m of the opinion that it’s ok if done with care. I’m partially sighted and wasn’t offended that the actor in Don’t Take My Baby wasn’t actually partially sighted.


I struggled to get into this, but may give it another shot :slightly_smiling_face:

Will Trent on Disney+ is about a very intelligent FBI agent with dyslexia. First two episodes were okay, bit I couldn’t stick with it.

A case could probably also be made the Big Bang Theory with Sheldon Cooper. I’ve only ever seen clips from it though, but he is autistic, and although its used as a comedic plot device to get a laugh, It’s not wildly exaggerated nor inaccurate in how it relates to me.

The PS4/xbox one episode in particular, fairly accurately (albeit slightly exaggerated) represents something I deal with almost on a daily basis. Down to the childish-like outburst when you do have someone to vent the problem too. But the frustration is real and the actor conveys it tremendously well with a little comedy flair.

There’s Special on Netflix which is LGBT-themed with the main character and actor living with cerebral palsy

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I’m sorry I just can’t with this show :joy:
I think it is the over-“Americanisation” of it all, laugh tracks, over the top characters, and autism played for laughs.


I’ll add this to the list :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t like what it’s used for either. But how it’s portrayed is probably the best there’s ever been with respect to adults. Again, I’ve only seen a handful of clips though.

Other than that, it’s always kids, and it’s always cliche and stereotypical, and rarely a main character.

This is a very good point actually.

I started watching a show on Netflix called Atypical, and from what I remember it very much followed the “Shouldn’t be about us without us” mantra, in that it’s characters were portrayed by actors with similar conditions.

Just looked it up a bit more:

The first season received mostly positive reviews. However, it was highly criticized by some sources for its lack of autistic actors, and inaccuracies in its depiction of autism. The second season featured autistic actors and writers, giving them an opportunity to work and represent their community, and received mostly positive reviews. The third season continued this positive development and received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

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I don’t really subscribe to that notion that seems to be popular lately, in that for certain things, like disability or sexuality, the actor needs to be those things in real life. They’re an actor, and it’s an acting gig. I’d think any seasoned actor who did their research properly, paired with a good director who also did their research would be able to perform a convincing portrayal.

That dementia story line with the vicar on Emmerdale from years back springs to mind. That was tremendously well researched and performed, and obviously the actor in question didn’t have dementia.


I agree with you.
I believe an actor, by trade, should be able to act in any role that they excel at.

Personally I think the “Not about us without us” avenue of thinking is more important in the writing department, making sure the stories are as authentic as possible.


How about:

Or for the mental illness / multiple personality disorder there is

Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities

Also, take a look at this

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My left foot looks interesting.

Glass is more of a weird supernatural thing isn’t it?

Yes, although a superb portrayal of multiple personalities by James McAvoy.

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Ooh another one I’ve just remembered.

The Father.

Prepare to be absolutely destroyed by the end of it though. About dementia. Amazing film.

And “Inside I’m Dancing” from the list you’ve linked is amazing as well.

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I’ve watched BBT all the way through, twice. One of my favourite shows! Yes, Sheldon’s autism is played for laughs but quite a bit of his behaviour resonated with me. But then I’ve never seen myself as having a disability - just a different way of viewing the world.

I also really enjoyed Atypical, even though the lead character is played by a neurotypical actor.


Les Intouchables, based on the true story of a quadriplegic millionaire and his ex-convict carer, based on the memoir “You Changed My Life” by Abdel Sellou.

And going back about 40 years, Children of a Lesser God about deafness starring Marlee Matlin.

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There’s a dead child in I Hate Suzie who is quite good at acting. The first series was great (haven’t seen the second yet).

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